10 июля 2013 г.

11 July - Sergei and Herman of Valaam (1100 - 1199)

Spring at Ladoga
Saints Sergei and Herman of Valaam are the founders of the Valaam [Finnish: Valamo] Orthodox Monastery which grew up on an island in Lake Ladoga. They are the miracle-workers of Valaam and the bringers of enlightenment to Karelia. Sergei and Herman probably lived in the 12th century, though some scholars have placed the foundation of Valaam - and thus the lives of Sergei and Herman - in the 14th century.
Our knowledge concerning the lives of Sergei and Herman is based on the cultic tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church and on conflicting written sources dating from the late Middle Ages and the 16th century. Nearly all of Valaam/Valamo's early source material has disappeared, probably during the wars between Sweden and Russia. The oldest manuscript fragments from the Valaam library date from the 13th century. The oldest surviving source originating at Valaam itself is a Prologue [a Memorial of Saints] copied at the monastery in 1501; in it the scribe refers to Valaam as a "great and honourable lavra [monastery]". The earliest known letter of exemption from the Principality of Moscow to Valaam dates from 1507.
More photographs of Valaam

Bird's-eye view of the Monastic bay
According to the cultic tradition that has survived in written form and to some chronicle sources, Sergei was a Greek monk, and Herman a Karelian disciple of his. A late tradition relates that Sergei first taught the faith on the island of Riekkala in Lake Ladoga off the coast of Sortavala and then moved to the nearby island of Valaam. The 'Tale of the Valamo Monastery', written down in the 16th century, begins with the typical hagiographical introduction: "On the eleventh day of September, the translation of the mortal remains of our holy fathers, the founders of Valaam Monastery, from Great Novgorod to the the district of Karelia, to the Monastery of our Most Mercifu
In the Church of the Smolensky skete
l Saviour on Valaam Island in Lake Neva [Ladoga]. And their icons, Sergei's and Herman's, were painted with the blessing of our holy father Johannes, the Archbishop of Great Novgorod, the new worker of miracles." A copy of the chronicle of St Sofia's Church in Novgorod made in the early 17th century informs us that the transfer occurred in 1163. It is possible that the sacred relics were kept in Novgorod during Swedish attacks on the Ladoga and River Volkhov areas. Of the two archbishops of Novgorod named Johannes, the first, who held office in the 1160s, was canonised, while the second, who lived in the 14th century, was not accorded the status of a saint.
Hagiographical sources of the early modern era state that Sergei died in 1192; but the accuracy of this isolated piece of information is uncertain. More trustworthy is the narrative, written in about 1620, concerning the beginnings of Uschekhon Monastery, founded in 1251 by Prince Gleb of Belo-ozero; as its "worthy hegumen [prior]" the prince received the monk Gennadi of Valaam Monastery. Elsewhere, a very brief chronicle of the world mentions that "in 1329 the aged Sergei began life on Valaam Island in Lake Ladoga"; but this scrap of information, too, lacks a reliable background.
The Valaam Monastery prospered in the late Middle Ages, thanks to gifts from the inhabitants along the coast and privileges granted by rulers. According to a tax register, in 1500 it owned 150 farms, whose 230 farmers paid taxes to it. The monastery was destroyed during wars between Sweden and Russia in the late 16th century and again in the first decade of the 17th century. It was deserted at the time of the Treaty of Nystad, revived thanks to Peter the Great and flourished in the latter half of the 18th century and as part of the autonomous state of Finland in the 19th century. After the Winter War of 1939/40 the monks were resettled, with some of their property, at Heinävesi in Finland. Valaam on the Ladoga Islands, too, has come to life again since it was reopened by Russian monks in the late 1980s.
A local cult of Sergei and Herman began in the Middle Ages, as attested by the 'Tale of the Valamo Monastery', a manuscript dating from the 16th and 17th centuries; some fifty copies were in circulation, and the work has survived. The painting of an icon and an old hagiographical memorial fragment prove that there was a local cult in the 16th century at the latest, but the founders of Valaam did not achieve general fame until Emperor Alexander I visited Valaam in 1819 during his trip to Finland.
The history of Sergei and Herman has been confused by a number of factors. The Russian legendary tradition exaggerated the importance of Valaam, even to the extent of having St Andrew visit the monastery. In the 19th century, a Russian forger altered some parchment texts as far as Valaam was concerned. Critical research on the Russian monastery system did not become strong until the late 19th century; the first notable scholars were I. Yakhontov, V. V. Zverinski and E. E. Golubinski. Given the contradictory nature of the texts, criticism of sources has been difficult. An anonymous 16th-century religious tract has recently been presented; according to this document the real founder of Valaam - at the turn of the 14th/15th centuries - was the Novgorod monk Yefrem Perekomsky, who left Valaam Monastery in the care of Sergei and Herman when he went off to found a monastery of his own near Novgorod. The text exhibits many inconsistences; for instance, it describes how the the "Karelian Chudes" (Karelian relatives of the Finns) were so hostile towards the monks of Valaam that the monastery requested and was provided with soldiers of the Tsar in order to suppress the Karelian pagans. This does not fit the Ladogan Karelia of the 14th and 15th centuries, since a parish administration was then already operating there. The tract does not annul the evidential force of the old and extensive cult tradition of Sergei and Herman, the existence of which is supported by 16th-century sources. The influence of Sergei and Herman in the Ladoga area fits in with the background of the 12th century, when the battle between East and West for the possession of Karelia began at both the spiritual and the material level. New support for this idea is provided by as yet unpublished palaeo-ecological research showing that it was precisely in the 12th century that agriculture expanded on the Valaam Islands.

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